My Prime Orientation / PSD Experience

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Dennis L's Comment
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Thanks Bill M. For the kind words and encouragement to keep it going. I’m glad you are reading this.

I’m doing this much detail to keep a record for myself to refer back to and hopefully it can help readers considering trucking, especially with Prime’s program. I gained a lot from reading a lot of diaries from various companies. I think Prime has the most diaries of any company on TT.

However, I think mine will be the first with the new ELDT law requirements in effect on Monday 02/07/22. I will get into that with my next post summary of my Day 5 experience.

I also encourage you to write a diary for yourself, if no other reason. It has helped me keep this process in perspective. Your experience will be unique to you and your insights could help someone else.

Anyway, this old dog is trying to learn some tricks.

Good luck with your program. Who are you with in Wisconsin?

Dennis L's Comment
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Day 5 continues

I left off sitting in the driver training classroom waiting for our 13:00 roll call.

There are about 160 students in here from the two Orientation groups that came in on Monday and Wednesday. We will be going through the PSD training phase together.

Now, I dressed for the cold weather today thinking that we just might get outside to touch a pre-trip practice truck. Man, I have felt like a freshly toasted Pop Tart all day being stuck inside!

Roll call at 13:00 consisted of a pad instructor calling us by name to hand us our student training log with our company Driver Code and Pin # on it. Yes!

We are responsible to keep this log updated daily with our hours of training for each day for these categories: Classroom Training, Pre-Trip Training and Backing Training. Our Driving time will be logged in the Qualcomm on our trainer’s truck. My trainer and I both must initial the log as valid.

It was noted that our hours of pre-trip includes class and self-study time combined.

This log sheet has space for 5 weeks on it. I Hope I’m not here that long, but I met a guy today who was.

This log sheet is to satisfy documentation requirements of the minimum required hours of training by category for the ELDT.

Today for Friday we had two class room trainings on Logs & Tires for a total of 1.6 hours. Then we had a 1 hour intro to pre-trip. If I were to put in an hour of self-study tonight instead of writing this, then I would record 2 hrs instead of 1 hr. Easy Peasy, right?

General opening comments by “Dee”. This lady is a 30 years experienced driver with Prime since 2015. She is an outstanding speaker with a compelling life story.

This process is an extended job interview. “Be on Fire”. People are watching. What sets you apart from the person next to you?

Safety should be your top priority as a professional driver.

Don’t get distracted in life.

Set challenging goals and strive for them.

(I think I’ve come to the right place after listening to her).

These 3 things will get you sent home: 1. Bad Attitude 2. Being Late (no excuses) 3. Alcohol (none allowed during training)

Logs class: 13:30-14:30 (1hr) Brooke, from the Logs Dept gave a very basic intro to the QC eLogs. More detailed training comes later.

A lot of people got confused about the 70 clock and recap hours. Only if they had heard of Truckingtruth.com.

There are 8 logs advisors to support 9,500+ drivers. They audit regularly any logs with PC time. If it is found to being abused, then PC privileges will be cancelled.

Tires class: 15:00-15:36 (0.6 hrs) Dalton from the tire shop in the Plaza center gave a very rapid paced overview of tires. I managed to take a lot of notes that I won’t repeat here.

He gave us our very own tread depth gauge.

The Plaza has 14 Bays for inspection of in-bound and out-bound trucks. Some repairs maybe made there or sent to other repair shops onsite. I don’t know that yet. “Truckin’ along with Kearsey” has a video of the facility on YouTube.

There are two tire bays with 4 techs. They handle 200-230 trucks a week.

This is all by appointment.

To be continued

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Elogs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.
Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Day 5 wrap up

Another quote from Dee: “Not all money is good money” - you can be making good money as a driver, but not be happy in your situation.

Introducing Pre-trip Inspection class: 16:00-17:00 (1 hr)

Prime’s pre-trip script here is to satisfy the MO examination requirements, so will be different in other states. I won’t bore you with any details.

We were provided access to some study aides to go along with the script.

We are expected to master this script by next Wednesday 02/09/22, when we will be evaluated on our progress. Those who have it down will move on with an assigned Drive Trainer on backing and driving.

Then the director of driver training for all of Prime gave us our schedule.

We will be off for the weekend to study pre-trip on our own. We won’t return to the Plaza for training until 13:00 on Monday!

It was suggested by Dee that those of us lucky to be staying at Campus Inn could ask a driver staying there if we could pre-trip his truck this weekend. There are several tractors in the parking lot. That is definitely on my game plan to get this done.

Dee also shared with us what to expect with our driver trainer when assigned. There are some OTR trainers and then local trainers. Each trainer will have their unique approach to the training and schedule. The trainer will explain that to us. The trainers have multiple students (2-4) to juggle. (I heard that the new ELDT specifies a 3 student limit, but not confirmed by me).

The trainers can schedule pad time in 2 hour blocks around the clock. So if your trainer calls saying we are on the pad at 03:00-05:00 hrs, you had better be ready early to be picked up at your hotel by the trainer in their truck. Don’t Be Late!

I had shared some thoughts with Kearsey today about the large number of students and the apparent backlog getting people tested out “to their money” earning a paycheck from Prime.

This is her feedback as a PSD driver trainer:

It takes 2-3, even 4 weeks to teach someone the backing and driving. Some learn faster than others.

My note: This is after Orientation and graduation from pre-trip (~1.5 weeks). Prime doesn’t want the driver trainers to have to waste time on pre-trip. We need to know it before getting on their truck.

The new ELDT law in effect 02/07/22 requires that Prime documents a certain number of recorded hours of In Class, Backing, Pre-trip and Driving before a student can test. The trainer won’t schedule a test until they feel the student is ready after the required hours are achieved. (NB: I don’t know the required minimum hours by category).

So, this is a very individual specific learning process. Allowing 1.5 weeks for Orientation + pre-trip, It can take 3.5 - 5.5 weeks depending on the individual. Then throw in winter weather delays like we’ve had and it adds up. So, that is why some people I met today were here 4-5 weeks!

My personal objective is to “Trifecta” in 3-4 weeks.

We all had dinner tonight at the North Star Grill at the Millennium Terminal. A lot better food than the cafe at Campus Inn.

I self toured the Millennium tonight since class tours are not being done due to a surge in Covid cases. It is impressive. I’m not a Prime Recruiter, so won’t go any further in details.

On a practical note. I’m going to settle in and go grocery shopping at Walmart tomorrow. It is an easy walk from Campus Inn. The room has a refrigerator and microwave. So I can feed myself here to save money. I brought my own utensils and can opener. The free meals end on Monday.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.
Bill M.'s Comment
member avatar

Keep on keeping on.

Thanks Bill M. For the kind words and encouragement to keep it going. I’m glad you are reading this.

I also encourage you to write a diary for yourself, if no other reason. It has helped me keep this process in perspective. Your experience will be unique to you and your insights could help someone else.

I will. thanks.

Anyway, this old dog is trying to learn some tricks.

Old dogs are good at learning new tricks.

Good luck with your program. Who are you with in Wisconsin?

Veriha

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Day 6 - 02/05/22

Beautiful sunny day in Springfield, 37F, only 30F windchill. A good day to be outside on the Pad!

I did the walk to Walmart and back with enough groceries to last maybe 9 days through next weekend. A good exercise for me, worked up a sweat carrying the bags.

Here is a photo of my haul for only $91.45. Only a few items need to be refrigerated. I like the Hormel Completes box meals. Nine flavor varieties and they heat up in 60 seconds and are tasty. I used to get these for $1.98, but these cost $2.12. That’s 7% inflation! My SS increase was only 5.9% in January. COLA my A@@.

A new item that I found today are the microwaveable individual servings of vegetables. That is handy.

I will eat at the Millennium North Star Grill occasionally, but I don’t need to.

0566768001644088758.jpg

Time now to hunker down for a 4 - 5 hours session of memorizing the pre-trip inspection script.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar
This log sheet is to satisfy documentation requirements of the minimum required hours of training by category for the ELDT.

I don't think that your training at Prime under the new ELDT requirements is going to differ much from what I went through almost two years ago. Prime already had a pretty thorough training program, including that training log sheet that you have to complete with your BSD instructor.

As far as the pre-trip, I grouped components together and developed a flow beginning at the top and then going to the bottom. I basically led from one component to the next. For example, I would go from the steering box to the steering linkage, to the suspension system.

Good luck.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the feedback Chief Brody.

I had heard from Kearsey, I think, that Prime had already been preparing for a couple years for the ELDT.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Day 6 - 02/05/22

Beautiful sunny day in Springfield, 37F, only 30F windchill. A good day to be outside on the Pad!

I did the walk to Walmart and back with enough groceries to last maybe 9 days through next weekend. A good exercise for me, worked up a sweat carrying the bags.

Here is a photo of my haul for only $91.45. Only a few items need to be refrigerated. I like the Hormel Completes box meals. Nine flavor varieties and they heat up in 60 seconds and are tasty. I used to get these for $1.98, but these cost $2.12. That’s 7% inflation! My SS increase was only 5.9% in January. COLA my A@@.

A new item that I found today are the microwaveable individual servings of vegetables. That is handy.

I will eat at the Millennium North Star Grill occasionally, but I don’t need to.

0566768001644088758.jpg

Time now to hunker down for a 4 - 5 hours session of memorizing the pre-trip inspection script.

Dennis, I can't compliment you enough on your selection! Some will differ, but .. I like your broad spectrum of goods!

One thing that 'I BOUGHT' when I was planning on going OTR (even a ride along or a shadowing) before I tore my Rotator Cuff and my Glimerohumerous (sp?!?!) and the finger bones on my scapula .. was READY WISE. Similar to MRE'S .... but .... worth it! Those people in VA on 95 WISH they had the $29.99 bargain package, with some H20 . I bought the $49.00 box; and here it awaits me! Go to ReadyWise dot com, and type in (or search?) trucker's deals!

Best wishes; always following!

~ Anne & Tom ~

ps: Did you utilize this???

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Day 7 - 02/06/22 (Sunday)

Today has been Pre-Trip memorizing day. I’ve recorded 6 hrs so far from 09:00-15:00, taking a break now, then will hit it again after dinner. I recorded 4.5 hours yesterday.

I have it memorized with a visualized flow that works for me. A lot of repetition to get it down. I will repeat a few more times tonight and again in the morning before going to class.

Prime provided us a very good animated PowerPoint slide deck to follow. It has clear photos of each station, eg engine compartment, with components highlighted for location. Then as you advance the slides it zooms in on the component with close-up photo and name. It gives you the chance to say the required words, then check yourself by advancing the slide again. They have a slide deck for each station except for Lights. There is a video available of a lights inspection to follow.

The slide decks are in a Prezi Viewer App that I’ve saved to my iPhone and iPad. I don’t need the paper script any longer. If I need a reference at class I can open it up on my phone.

Ms. Anne, thanks for the feedback on shopping and MRE suggestions.

Regarding the Pre-Trip Inspection training materials on TT, I had read Daniel’s Pre-Trip Inspection way before coming here.

To be honest though, I’m glad that I did not spend time seriously memorizing Daniel’s pre-trip (based on Prime’s of several years ago). Prime updated it’s pre-trip script in July 2018.

I came here with a blank slate to memorize what Prime wants me to learn in order to pass the MO exam.

Once I’m on the road, I can change up a real pre-trip anyway that I want to make it efficient for me.

Cheers

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Day 7 continues

After a 3 hours rest break, I tested my pre-trip retention from 18:00-20:30 (2.5 hrs). This gives me a total of 8.5 hrs of pre-trip study today.

I’ve got it down 99.9%. Only had to pause a couple seconds on a couple items that just didn’t roll off my tongue, but I did get them. I have a bit of perfectionism in me, so having to beat that down right now.

I feel very good about my progress tonight. Will see how well I retain it overnight.

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